US state moves to trademark 'Idaho' after Turkish firm fails to register name
AFP photoThe Turkish Patent Institute (TPE) has rejected a move that would have allowed a Turkish company to stamp “Idaho” on its produce as potato authorities from the U.S. state of the same name have opened proceedings to trademark the phrase “Famous Idaho Potatoes” in Turkey.
The U.S. state of Idaho, whose economy is largely based on agricultural businesses, recently objected to Beta’s move to acquire the exclusive rights to use the name “Idaho” on its seeds in Turkey.
However, Beta’s application to the TPE to trademark the word “Idaho” for use on its products was declined on March 8, according to records on the Turkish Patent Institute’s website. Beta has two months to appeal the decision. But in the meantime, the Idaho Potato Commission has filed a case on Feb. 22 to use the phrase “Famous Idaho Potatoes” on its spuds in Turkey.
“We used to be in the potato business, but we terminated potato production in 2012. We applied to use the ‘Idaho’ name for another seed product that we import from abroad,” Oğuz Kılınç, the general manager of Beta, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Feb. 1.
Kılınç said the misunderstanding might have arisen because the Turkish Patent Institute does not have separate classifications for different type of seeds, possibly prompting the Idaho potato producers’ fear that the “Idaho” name could be used by another company. “The Potato Commission has reached us and expressed their concerns before and we have told them as well that we’re applying for another product. I didn’t know that this would become a legal controversy,” he said.
Idaho’s reaction to the application made by Beta is reasonable, as geographical trademarks provide a competitive advantage for regions, Kaan Dericioğlu, the general manager of the Ankara Patent Office, said in February.